Like talking about your Journey cover band


It was one of those conversations that you end up overhearing without meaning to. Normally, the people talking walk away, and you never hear where the conversation was going. In this case, however, the conversation got so good, that as the two people talking started to move towards the other end of the room, I did too. I was hooked, and for all the wrong reasons. The guy doing all the talking was speaking in great length about his band. The new keyboard player wasn't working out, the guitar player was still having issues with his stage presence. They were misunderstood. Their craft, he said, was taken for granted. This guy was fired up, and gave great details about the direction he wanted the band to take, the plans he had laid out for them, and how no band members were following his lead, "You put so much thought into how to play, how to interpret this music...and one one seems to even notice." He was spelling out the issues that many small-town bands have always had. I almost felt for the guy. It was then that I started to wonder just what kind of band he was in. His clothing or age didn't give it away, and as I continued to ponder this very thing, the man answered the question I was asking. In a pleasent tone, he said, "There's not that many Journey cover bands...and I still think we're one of the best." Yes my friends, he was talking about a Journey cover band all along. I couldn't believe it. I felt ashamed for him, and for all of humanity.

I bring this up because all of you may very well have the same reaction when reading an interview I recently did, which partially focuses on this very blog. At the end, you'll say to yourself, "My god, this guy seriously puts an ounce of thought into that piece of crap?", and then you'll cringe for an hour or two. Or three. And then you'll point out how I had already written about some of these things on the blog, and how all I do is talk about Colombia.

Be that as it may, I thought I'd share the interview with you, which you can find here. While the Washington Post and the New York Times had both been hounding me for months about doing an interview, I thought I should keep things within the realm of cycling blogs, so I did.

Two questions were edited from my interview, so I'm providing them below. Consider this post the Director's Cut...with the text below being the deleted scenes. So if you want, go read the interview, and then if you're not nauseous from reading about me, read the deleted scenes. Enjoy.

When did you move to the US?
I moved to the United States with my family in 1990. It was a huge event in my life, both for good and bad. But mostly for bad at the time. I knew no English, sported a roaring mullet, and had an insanely hard time adjusting to every bit of what makes up living in the United States. Ever since, I've had a tempestuous relationship with this country. For a long time, I focused on how out of place I felt in the United States. I strongly felt that Colombia was my home, and the United States was a hellish place that I was simply forced to live in. Having said that, I have to say that on a recent trip to Colombia with my wife, it dawned on my that the United States (regardless of whatever objections I have may have about the country, or some aspects of it) is also home for me. I have many friends here, and family as well. I can't discard that fact. As a result of all this, I consider myself lucky. Rather than focusing on the hardships I had as a kid upon moving here, I see the good. This may sound like a small realization (that I'm at home here too), but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Not literally, because that would have hurt a ton. Not an actual ton...but you get the point. The truth is that it has radically changed my outlook on life for the better, and has made me have a better understanding of how lucky I am. Aside from my move here, I've made it a point to travel as much as possible throughout my life (within my means), and can easily navigate my way (both literally and figuratively) through many cities and countries all over the place. That's a good thing, I think.

A reputable cycling publication recently reported that everyone who dares ride a bike in Colombia gets kidnapped and murdered, and yet when you write about Colombian cycling, you never seem to mention all the times you got captured and killed. What gives?
Well, to be fair...I've been killed like twelve times, and six of those killings took place while I was I was kidnapped. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this from the jungles of Colombia, because I've been kidnapped for nearly six months now. No one noticed this, because my latest posts on the blog were written by a semi-smart computer that generates sentences based on linguistic patterns established throughout my extensive body of work.

Look, the reality is that Colombia is not the horrible place it's often portrayed to be. I understand that the magazine needed to write a little blurb to go over a picture. I get it. They meant no harm. At the same time, this is a reflection of how scared many people are of (certain) foreign countries and experiences. It's also always hard for me to take the opinion of someone who has never been to Colombia seriously. I wrote about this in greater detail on my blog. So, at the risk of seeming lazy (a great stereotype about us Latino folk), you can go read about it here.